Abdeslam arrest is a small part in a huge anti-terror jigsaw

Morning View
Morning View

After a four-month manhunt, the Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was wounded and captured yesterday in Belgium.

No-one was killed in the operation in Brussels.

Earlier this week, a man thought to be an accomplice of Abdeslam was shot dead.

These operations are essential in the fight against terror, and they illustrate the importance and skill and bravery of special forces in western nations.

The Paris massacres were a heinous assault on civilians in one of the most loved cities in the world.

Most of the attackers in the Islamic State atrocity died that night, as is typically the case in jihadist assaults where suicide attack methods are the norm.

Now the criminal justice system will swing into action.

If anyone is found guilty of the Paris attacks, France will discover something with which Northern Ireland is well familiar. When a terrorist mass murderer is holed up in prison for decades, the day will come when someone is calling for their release or alleging that they were the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Moral equivalence will be applied to explain their actions (who is a terrorist? what about the west’s terrorism? etc).

But that won’t happen for decades in France or America where even the naive understood that something evil was behind the Paris and September 11 attacks.

The counter terrorist operation against jihadists will be a multi-national affair that will probably last for decades.

Day and night intelligence agents are trying to prevent further atrocities.

There is international support for what the security forces are trying to do. On the week that Adrian Ismay died at the hands of Northern Irish terrorists, we need similar unequivocal support in Northern Ireland for robust action against his murderers and their associates.